The Office of Diversity and Human Rights (DHR) has released the results of its Diversity Matters Census conducted in November 2014. The data helps determine representation of four designated groups within the U of G workforce (Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities and women) under the University’s employment equity program.
In keeping with Statistics Canada practices, the census also included questions relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“In order to broaden the range of perspectives found in the curriculum and enrich our experiences, we need to improve efforts to recruit and retain more diverse students, staff and faculty,” says Jane Ngobia, assistant vice-president, Diversity and Human Rights.
Of the 2,520 U of G employees who participated in the census, 58 per cent identified as women, 40 per cent identified as men and two per cent did not respond.
In response to the sexual orientation question, 91 per cent identified as heterosexual, four per cent identified as sexual minorities and five per cent did not respond.
“We have gone over and beyond compliance by collecting data from individuals who identified as sexual minorities although we were not required to do so,” says Ngobia. “This data will help the University understand its community better with regard to this category of employees.”
Seven per cent identified as a person with a disability.
Twelve per cent identified as a member of a visible minority and one per cent identified as an Aboriginal Person.
“At the University of Guelph, we know that achieving academic excellence requires a commitment to diversity,” says Ngobia. “Research has shown that students who are educated in diverse environments have been found to emerge with a better understanding of how to participate productively in a pluralistic society and to deal with complexities of such a society more readily. To reap the benefits of diversity we need to engage in environments that challenge our comfort level and expand our knowledge base about other people, other values and other perspectives. Employment equity helps us create and sustain a diverse environment.”
The workforce survey is required every three years under the Federal Contractors Program. Organizations that receive more than $1-million in federal contracts and have more than 100 employees must comply.